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14 Panel All Aboard Layout

This is my small layout. One of the nice things about an All Aboard layout is how it can easily change size to suit your needs. My wife's requirement is that we be able to access some of the room windows during the cooler months of the year here in Florida. During these months, my layout shrinks to 14 panels. The layout size as shown here is 34 inches by 10 feet.

On my layout, the original Pikemaster track has been replaced with Gargraves. Yes, you can bend Gargraves track to the 15 inch Pikemaster radius with a little patience and care. The track looks quite attractive on the All Aboard panels, and the wooden ties tends to deaden the sound so the trains run quieter. The layout is filled with traditional All Aboard houses, and many Plasticville buildings that help to populate my miniature town.

The train on the tracks in this photo consists of 14 cars, all with Pikemaster trucks, pulled by a 21085 Pacific. Pikemaster trucks are given a bad rap by many Flyer collectors and operators. Thought not perfect, they offer several advantages. First, Pikemaster coupled cars remain coupled when running. Second, the cars roll much easier than the knuckle type trucks, so you can pull longer trains. Lastly, the cars tend to run more with less noise. My wife really appreciates this feature!


Curved Panels Converted to Switch Panels!

My switch panels have been constructed by mounting Gargraves switches on curved panels. The switches are are standard Flyer radius, but still work. The switch actually hangs off the panel about an inch or so, in order to get the curved section to line up properly with the track.

The Gargraves switches have some problems. They do look great on the layout, but can not be used with any engines that have hot shoes! Some of my best engines like my 346 that looks so good on the layout, can not be run! Also, the wheel spacing on stock Flyer cars is a little to narrow to run though the switch without derailing. S-Helper cars run perfect right out of the box, but Gilbert wheels are usually set closer together. They do slide on their axles fortunately, and can be adjusted. I am considering kitbashing standard Gilbert 720A type switches for my layout. This may be the basis of a future web page.

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